Saratoga finance commissioner won’t seek re-election

ERICA MILLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan speaks to the media on May 6 about the tough fiscal situation confronting the city.

ERICA MILLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan speaks to the media on May 6 about the tough fiscal situation confronting the city.

Categories: News, Saratoga County

SARATOGA SPRINGS  — City Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan, in the midst of working on the most difficult city budget of her nine-year tenure, has decided not to seek re-election 2021.

The Democrat announced Monday that she will not run for a sixth two-year term in 2021, saying she believed 10 years in office was enough. Her announcement came nearly a full year ahead of Election Day 2021.

“In the past nine years the Finance Department has accomplished much for the city we all love, and we have much to be proud of,” Madigan said in a statement. “At the conclusion of my current term I will have spent 10 years in office, and even longer than that involved in electoral politics, and it is time to move on to the next chapter of my life.”

The announcement comes as the city’s economy, like the nation’s, has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, causing the city to fall $14 million short on this year’s revenue projections and project a $6.8 million deficit heading into 2021.

In the past, Madigan has often pointed proudly to the fact that her budgets have held city property taxes steady for the last eight years, but the 2021 budget is projecting that dozens of layoffs will be needed to reduce expenses, and property taxes will still need to go up 6 percent to balance the budget.

Madigan has also been criticized for the cost of a recently completed $1.1 million historic renovation of her offices at City Hall, though the renovation was planned four years ago and financed prior to the pandemic. It was mostly completed when the pandemic struck, and the money borrowed for the project could not have been used in the city’s general budget to offset expenses.

Under the city’s unusual commissioner form of government, which city voters last week decided not to change in a public referendum, the finance commissioner is an elected position that oversees budget development and management, including tax and other revenue collection and city payroll. The finance commissioner also served on the City Council with the three other city commissioners and the mayor.

Madigan has treated the job as essentially full-time, though the city charter considers is it part-time, and it pays only $14,500 per year.

Madigan first ran for the office in 2011 and defeated then-Finance Commissioner Ken Ivins, a Republican. Since then she has been unopposed in some of her re-election bids, though in 2019 she had to win a Democratic primary before going on to the general election.

Madigan did not respond to a request for additional comment on Tuesday.

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